Democratic Underground Latest Greatest Lobby Journals Search Options Help Login
Google

Geithner's NY Fed, Kept Quiet Its Big Concessions to Big Banks & Ignored Viable Alternatives

Printer-friendly format Printer-friendly format
Printer-friendly format Email this thread to a friend
Printer-friendly format Bookmark this thread
This topic is archived.
Home » Discuss » Archives » General Discussion (1/22-2007 thru 12/14/2010) Donate to DU
 
amborin Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jun-30-10 12:43 PM
Original message
Geithner's NY Fed, Kept Quiet Its Big Concessions to Big Banks & Ignored Viable Alternatives
Edited on Wed Jun-30-10 12:44 PM by amborin
In U.S. Bailout of A.I.G., Forgiveness for Big Banks

By LOUISE STORY and GRETCHEN MORGENSON


....... A.I.G. executives and shareholders are asking whether A.I.G. may have been misled by Goldman into insuring mortgage deals that the bank and others may have known were flawed.
........Unknown outside of a few Wall Street legal departments, the A.I.G. waiver was released last month by the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform amid 250,000 pages of largely undisclosed documents. The documents, reviewed by The New York Times, provide the most comprehensive public record of how the Federal Reserve Bank of New York and the Treasury Department orchestrated one of the biggest corporate bailouts in history.
The documents also indicate that regulators ignored recommendations from their own advisers to force the banks to accept losses on their A.I.G. deals and instead paid the banks in full for the contracts.
That decision, say critics of the A.I.G. bailout, has cost taxpayers billions of extra dollars in payments to the banks.
It also contrasts with the hard line the White House took in 2008 when it forced Chryslers lenders to take losses when the government bailed out the auto giant. ........Regulators at the New York Fed declined to comment on the legal waiver but disagreed with that viewpoint.

......This month, the Congressional Oversight Panel, a body charged with reviewing the state of financial markets and the regulators that monitor them, published a 337-page report on the A.I.G. bailout.
It concluded that the Federal Reserve Bank of New York did not give enough consideration to alternatives before sinking more and more taxpayer money into A.I.G.
It is hard to escape the conclusion that F.R.B.N.Y. was just going through the motions, the report said.
About $46 billion of the taxpayer money in the A.I.G. bailout was used to pay to mortgage trading partners like Goldman and Socit Gnrale, a French bank, to make good on their claims. The banks are not expected to return any of that money, leading the Congressional Research Service to say in March that much of the taxpayer money ultimately bailed out the banks, not A.I.G.

snip

In that regard, the newly released Congressional documents show New York Fed officials deferring to bank executives at a time when the government was pumping hundreds of billions of taxpayer dollars into the financial system to rescue bankers from their own mistakes. While Wall Street deal-making is famously hard-nosed with participants fighting for every penny, during the A.I.G. bailout regulators negotiated with the banks in an almost conciliatory fashion.
On Nov. 6, 2008, for instance, after a New York Fed official spoke with Lloyd C. Blankfein, Goldmans chief executive, about the Feds A.I.G. plans, the official noted in an e-mail message to Mr. Blankfein that he appreciated the Wall Street titans patience. Thanks for understanding, the regulator said.
From the moment the government agreed to lend A.I.G. $85 billion on Sept. 16, 2008, the New York Fed, led at the time by Timothy F. Geithner, and its outside advisers all acknowledged that a rescue had to achieve two goals: stop the bleeding at A.I.G. and protect the taxpayer money the government poured into the insurer.
One of the regulators most controversial decisions was awarding the banks that were A.I.G.s trading partners 100 cents on the dollar to unwind debt insurance they had bought from the firm. Critics have questioned why the government did not try to wring more concessions from the banks, which would have saved taxpayers billions of dollars.
Mr. Geithner, who is now the Treasury secretary, has repeatedly said that as steward of the New York Fed, he had no choice but to pay A.I.G.s trading partners in full.
But two entirely different solutions to A.I.G.s problems were presented to Fed officials by three of its outside advisers, according to the documents. Under those plans, the banks would have had to accept what the advisers described as deep concessions of as much as about 10 percent on their contracts or they might have had to return about $30 billion that A.I.G. had paid them before the bailout.
Had either of these plans been implemented, A.I.G. may have been left in a far better financial position than it is today, with taxpayers at less risk and banks forced to swallow bigger losses.
A spokesman for Mr. Geithner, Andrew Williams, said it was easy to speculate about how the A.I.G. bailout might have been handled differently, but the government had limited tools.
For its part, the Treasury appeared to be opposed to any options that did not involve making the banks whole on their A.I.G. contracts. At Treasury, a former Goldman executive, Dan H. Jester, was the agencys point man on the A.I.G. bailout. Mr. Jester had worked at Goldman with Henry M. Paulson Jr., the Treasury secretary during the A.I.G. bailout. Mr. Paulson previously served as Goldmans chief executive before joining the government.

A Close Association

Mr. Jester, according to several people with knowledge of his financial holdings, still owned Goldman stock while overseeing Treasurys response to the A.I.G. crisis. According to the documents, Mr. Jester opposed bailout structures that required the banks to return cash to A.I.G. Nothing in the documents indicates that Mr. Jester advocated forcing Goldman and the other banks to accept a discount on the deals.
Although the value of Goldmans shares could have been affected by the terms of the A.I.G. bailout, Mr. Jester was not required to publicly disclose his stock holdings because he was hired as an outside contractor, a job title at Treasury that allowed him to forgo disclosure rules applying to appointed officials. In late October 2008, he stopped overseeing A.I.G. after others were given that responsibility, according to Michele Davis, a spokeswoman for Mr. Jester.
.........Gift or not, the banks got 100 cents on the dollar. And on Nov. 11, 2008, a New York Fed staff member recommended that documents for explaining the bailout to the public not mention bank concessions. The Fed should not reveal that it didnt secure concessions unless absolutely necessary, the staff member advised. In the end, the Fed successfully kept most of the details about its negotiations with banks confidential for more than a year, despite opposition from the media and Congress.
During the A.I.G. bailout, New York Fed officials prepared a script for its employees to use in negotiations with the banks and it was anything but tough; it advised Fed negotiators to solicit suggestions from bankers about what financial and institutional support they wanted from the Fed. The script also reminded government negotiators that bank participation was entirely voluntary.

snip

http://www.nytimes.com/2010/06/30/business/30aig.html?r...
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top

Home » Discuss » Archives » General Discussion (1/22-2007 thru 12/14/2010) Donate to DU

Powered by DCForum+ Version 1.1 Copyright 1997-2002 DCScripts.com
Software has been extensively modified by the DU administrators


Important Notices: By participating on this discussion board, visitors agree to abide by the rules outlined on our Rules page. Messages posted on the Democratic Underground Discussion Forums are the opinions of the individuals who post them, and do not necessarily represent the opinions of Democratic Underground, LLC.

Home  |  Discussion Forums  |  Journals |  Store  |  Donate

About DU  |  Contact Us  |  Privacy Policy

Got a message for Democratic Underground? Click here to send us a message.

© 2001 - 2011 Democratic Underground, LLC